Two quick updates on a couple of campaigns we’ve been following:
Union City reader Paul Ruffins wrote in to ask whether it’s “just the emergency room at Providence Hospital” that’s closing. No; Ascension Health Corporation plans to close Providence Hospital completely at the end of this year, reports Steven Frum at National Nurses United. This would not only end health services that have been provided by Providence Hospital in the District for over 157 years, but would leave just one hospital -- United Medical Center -- on the east side of the city. We have a fact sheet with more details at dclabor.org
And in the wake of last week’s marathon hearing on Initiative 77, supporters are urging emails and calls to DC council members to ensure that they respect workers and voters, who overwhelmingly approved the initiative -- which will ensure that tipped workers earn a living wage -- in June. There’s link at dclabor.org where you can send an email now.
On today’s labor calendar, find out “How the International Labour Organization Is Responding to the Radically Changing World of Work” today at 11:30am at a program presented by the Washington DC Chapter of the Labor and Employment Relations Association;
go to dclabor.org and click on Calendar for complete details.
In today’s labor history, on this date in 1903, “The Old 97,” a Southern Railway train officially known as the Fast Mail, derailed near Danville, Virginia., killing engineer Joseph “Steve” Broady and ten other railroad and postal workers. Many believe Broady had been ordered to speed to make up for lost time. “The Wreck of the Old 97” inspired balladeers; a 1924 recording by Vernon Dalhart is sometimes cited as the first million-selling country music record.
Today’s labor quote is from that 1924 recording of “The Wreck of the Old 97” by Vernon Dalhart:
He was goin' down grade making 90 miles an hour
When his whistle broke into a scream
He was found in the wreck with his hand on the throttle
And was scalded to death by the steam
The campaign to save Providence Hospital continued last week even as the hospital moved forward with plans to shut down in early December.
Hospital advocates — including union and community supporters — met with DC City Council members late in the week while Ward 5 council member Kenyan McDuffie went door-to-door in neighborhoods around the hospital urging residents to turn out for the October 10 Council hearing on the closing.
The coalition is asking supporters to call DC City Council members today and demand they tell Ascension: “Fix It, Don’t Close It: Save Providence Hospital.”
We’ve got Council member contact info on our website at dclabor.org
Today’s labor calendar is jam-packed;
the AFL-CIO election phonebank is up and running every weekday starting at 11am;
the Coalition of Labor Union Women hosts a panel on mobilizing the women’s vote at the “Sisters Not Afraid of Power” panel discussion at noon, which you can also watch online:
the 1-man show “Marx in Soho” will be at the Hyattsville Busboys and Poets starting at 6:30 tonight;
and the film “Dolores” – about United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta -- screens free tonight at the University Christian Church in Hyattsville;
go to dclabor.org and click on Calendar for complete details on all of these events.
In today’s labor history, on this date in 1891, two African-American sharecroppers were killed during an ultimately unsuccessful cotton-pickers strike in Lee County, Arkansas. By the time the strike had been suppressed, 15 African-Americans had died and another six had been imprisoned. A white plantation manager was killed as well.
Today’s labor quote is by Lewis Hine, whose powerful photographs showing kids at work were instrumental in changing child labor laws in the United States. When Hine commissioned to document the construction of the Empire State Building, he photographed the workers in precarious positions while they secured the steel framework of the structure, taking many of the same risks that the workers endured. Lewis Hine, born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin on this date in 1874, who said:
“Photography can light-up darkness and expose ignorance.”
“It’s Time, D.C.”, a coalition of local community groups, civic organizations, labor leaders and residents, launched an ad campaign last week “to voice the concerns of the thousands of city residents and neighborhoods that have been negatively affected by short-term rentals” and encourage the D.C. City Council to pass short-term rental legislation to protect neighborhoods and affordable housing.
Members of the coalition include The D.C. Federation of Civic Associations, Unite Here! Local 25, AirbnbWatch and concerned residents.
“As a single mom, finding an affordable home for my family in D.C. is a challenge and now commercial investors are buying up homes to rent on Airbnb reducing housing and raising rent citywide,” says Yukia Hugee in the first ad of the campaign.
“Leaders from major cities across the country like San Diego, San Francisco, New York, and Boston have enacted short-term rental laws to protect affordable housing and hold short-term rental platforms like Airbnb accountable,” says Lauren Windsor of AirbnbWATCH.
On our labor calendar, “Dolores,” a film about Dolores Huerta, the co-founder -- with Cesar Chavez -- of the United Farm Workers -- screens free at 7pm tonight at the University Christian Church in Hyattsville; go to dclabor.org and click on Calendar for complete details.
In today’s labor history, on this date in 1918, Canada declares the Wobblies illegal.
Today’s labor quote is by Dolores Huerta:
“Professional farmworkers who know how to do a number of different jobs, whether it be pruning or picking or crafting, they see themselves as professionals, and they take a lot of pride in that work. They don't see themselves as doing work that is demeaning.”
The transit workers union blasted Metro’s announcement on Tuesday that it’s looking to privatize six new stations on the Silver Line.
“Privatization is not a cost saving,” said ATU Local 689, “but instead drives up fares, jeopardizes safety, results in service cuts, and fosters an environment for political corruption because it puts profits ahead of the riding public.”
The union called the move “another example of WMATA General Manager Paul Wiedefeld's failed leadership and wasteful spending” and renewed its call for Wiedefeld's firing.
On our labor calendar, there are labor-to-labor walks to boost election turnout throughout the region this weekend; go to dclabor.org and click on Calendar for complete details and links where you can sign up.
In today’s labor history, on this date in 1991, members of five unions at the Frontier Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas began what was to become the longest successful hotel strike in U.S. history. All 550 workers honored the picket line for the entirety of the 6-year, 4-month, 10-day fight against management’s insistence on cutting wages and eliminating pensions.
Today’s labor quote is by “Mother” Jones, who led a march of miners' children through the streets of Charleston, West Virginia on this date in 1912. Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, who said:
“Some day the workers will take possession of your city hall, and when we do, no child will be sacrificed on the altar of profit!”
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